The first season of Halo is a deluge of risky bets and convoluted storylines.

With yesterday's premiere of the season finale, Halo's first season comes to a satisfying, if unfinished, close. Now that I've seen the entire season, I can make an informed judgment about the show as a whole, and I have to say: it's complicated.

The Halo TV show is as convoluted as a bad relationship. Do you think this person is toxic to your well-being? Yes Are you having a wonderful time sexually? Meh Is your curiosity about where this could go enough to keep them around? Absolutely

Despite the fact that I do not think Halo is a good television season or a good exploration of the Halo canon, I am not yet prepared to yeet it into the glasslands like Netflix did with my beloved but troubled Cowboy Bebop.

So many fully formed ideas were floating aimlessly in the void, waiting for the right Shaw-Fujikawa engine to propel them.  

As the Master Chief, Pablo Schreiber did a fine job. As John-117, he struck the right tone despite making some odd choices (or having some odd choices made for him by the writers). A capable leader and soldier, he exudes authority and stature. In addition, he is stoic without being grave. Perhaps he was too serious and could have benefited from a few more clever one-liners in order to reach Master Chief status. Do you recall the joke made in Halo 2 about returning the bomb to the Covenant? Add more of that, thank you

Despite his skill, Schreiber was overshadowed by the film's many leading ladies.  

Despite her hideous hairstyle, Yerin Ha was fantastic in her role as Kwan Ha, the orphan human colonist who battled Burn Gorman's UNSC sycophant to defend her home planet. In the first episode, she and the Master Chief showed a lot of potential. It would have been a much better show if its central premise had been Master Chief learning to reconnect with his humanity with the help of Kwan as he taught her to become a better soldier and leader in the wake of her father's death.  

CBS / Paramount Plus / Getty Images

The character of Dr. The video game version of Halsey was a vile, almost comically evil parody, but it served its purpose. The writers essentially transferred Cortana's final motivation from Halo 5: Guardians onto her human ancestor: "I will save you through your utter subjugation." While this is a major departure from how she is typically portrayed, Dr Halsey has committed unspeakable acts of evil, which she has rationalized by claiming were necessary for the greater good. Show creators followed this philosophy to its logical conclusion, which McElhone acted out with chilling precision.

Makee, the Human Covenant spy played by Charlie Murphy (the Irish actress from Peaky Blinders, not Eddie Murphy's brother), has been written off in a way that has really disappointed me. Since this is a woman who is John's sworn enemy, more so than Kwan Ha, she would have made for a fantastic adversary. But because of the artifacts they both have a connection to, they grow close to one another and eventually fall in love. It's inconceivable that John would have a girlfriend, but sure, why not. Since the writers had already gotten creative with John's characterization, they might as well give him a girlfriend, an idea that has never been explored in the canon (his obvious but platonic love of Cortana aside). It would have been interesting to see more of Makee and John as they experiment with and learn the basics of romantic love, an emotion neither of them has experienced before. This is especially true of a romantic love complicated by the fears of two people raised on opposing sides of a war. Fanfiction about hated characters becoming lovers practically writes itself.

However, the authors didn't intend for us to enjoy such comforts. Makee's betrayal at the end of episode eight didn't change the fact that she and John cared for one another; she was still willing to leave the Covenant once more if it meant protecting John. But Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy) shoots and kills her just as he's about to convince her to rejoin him again.  

A fanfiction about sworn enemies becoming lovers practically writes itself.

Making the most of Makee's potential was a waste of time. It seemed like the creators of the show had no idea what to do with her beyond using her as a plot device, and all they could think of to do with her was to figuratively drop a large appliance on her head. All this worry may be for naught, as she may return in season two; however, we must wait and see.

Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) and Kate Kennedy stand out as the best among the women who outperform Schreiber in their roles. They were fantastic in every role, but their one scene together was the show's best, heartiest, and cutest.  

Just about everything they did with Miranda was fantastic. She was given the opportunity to be a fully realized human being, as opposed to her virtual counterpart who was limited to acting as an emotionless "honor and duty" soldier of the UNSC. I was sympathetic toward her whenever she made an effort to communicate with Dr. Even though Halsey deeply desires her admiration and affection, she rejects her "by any means necessary" method of being cruel.  

Photo: CBS / Paramount Plus

And Kai Kai is the best performer in the whole production. Period Nothing else needs to happen in Season 2 other than Kai and Miranda nerding out over the Covenant language while bench pressing warthogs. Kai's transition into human beinghood after removing her emotion suppressant pellet was more natural and believable than John's. She most closely resembles the Spartans I've encountered in fiction and media. Like Linda-058, she is a skilled sniper, and like Fred-104 and Edward Buck, she has a "what the hell" attitude.

The rest of Kai's team, who I felt had been left in the dust by her brilliance, is now at odds with her. I think the show would have been more enjoyable if Riz-028 and Vannak-134 were given the same focus as Kai and John. When it came to Silver Team, I felt like the creators didn't fully grasp that the appeal of Spartan teams is their camaraderie because of the schism between Kai and John and Riz and Vannak. In Halo, if Silver Team's Spartans were more like Blue Team's, Noble Team's, or Fireteam Osiris', viewers might have been more forgiving of the show's plot holes.  

The plot of the Halo TV show was a mess, but the actors were fantastic. Rapidly becoming boring and superfluous was the subplot involving Kwan Ha and Soren-066. Either it needed to be more tightly woven into the main plot or it needed to be cut altogether so that the story's more engaging parts could develop. Seasons with only nine episodes are supposed to be concise; instead, we got padding. In addition, there are several points throughout the season where the camera switched to first-person, just like in the games. Stop that It’s bad It's always distracting, unpleasant, and out of place. It didn't work back in Doom, and it still doesn't work today. Stop it

Illustration by CBS / Paramount Plus

The Covenant as the bad guys worked great. It was fortunate that the aliens weren't the season's central focus because they all looked ridiculous in a low-budget, "presented by SyFy," kind of way, with the exception of the Prophets. It wasn't the ostentatious celebration of military propaganda that it could have been, and that's one of the main reasons I'm willing to give the show another shot.  

In many ways, the first three Halo games amount to nothing more than nine episodes of upstanding human soldiers in power armor punching the shit out of fanatical alien theists. I may not agree with every story decision made, but I have the utmost respect for the showrunners' "fuck it, anything goes" attitude toward Halo's plot. There is a wealth of potential in the Halo canon that hasn't been fully mined yet. The Master Chief has never been shown as a man with desires or even as someone who struggles with questions about who he is or what he was made to do. The writers behind Halo made some awkward attempts to introduce us to fresh points of view. They gambled heavily by tinkering with one of gaming's most iconic series, and I appreciated their failed attempt at novelty more than I would have a successful attempt at predictability.  

As you can see, this isn't the final chapter of Halo. Season two of the show has been officially greenlit. There's a good show buried under a mountain of filler and cringeworthy computer-generated imagery. I think the showrunners can find a way to make season two better if they try.

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